I ran this morning with a singular mission. To stop crowding my mind with noise so that I could listen for the voice of the One who restores. I made a promise to hush my internal generator and listen for the Lord. My reasons for this were many, one in particular being the book: The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan. Our spirited Youth Pastor extended this book as what I now know, after delighting in it, was a genuine love offering to his congregation.
Mark Buchanan’s inspired wisdom pours forth from the pages like a roaring tide of awe on the one hand, and at other times gingerly as down from the cradle of a sparrow’s nest. He pulls you in to the grace and rest of Sabbath in a way that has my heart leaning, running into the joy of the Lord. One of Mark Buchanan’s many gentle observations worth framing is:
Prayer, before it’s talking, ought to be listening.
And today, as sweetly as He will when you seek Him, God answered with a bit of scripture I’ve always loved:
…speak Lord, your servant is listening.
This portion from 1 Samuel 3:10 reminds believers that if you will listen with all your heart and soul, you will “hear” from God. If you embrace the attitude of a servant, and surrender to the direction of God, you will have a sense of His presence in your ear.
Well, I’ve been right where I’m hoping many of you are, over and over again. Ummm, I’m not exactly hearing God. Uh, was that actually me, or God? Who’s speaking in here? What does God’s voice sound like, actually?
In fact, so was Samuel. And I think that’s one of the points of this verse and this true story. That even a child dedicated solely to service in the Lord didn’t hear or recognize the voice of the Lord when it had been “calling as at other times.” You see, the entire 1 Samuel 3:10 verse tells us:
The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
There was a “then” even for Samuel. The fundamental posture God is encouraging here, regardless of our lacking in discernment, is…Samuel wanted to listen, he was alert. He was inviting the call, he didn’t run from it.
On my run today God spoke to me in this way: dazzling crimson leaves swirling. An unseen creek gurgling generously in tangled underbrush. A soft, grey raincloud cover that pushed forth a circular, energizing wind. And I realized, once again, that God made each of us infinitely unique. And that, thanks be to God, He knows every one of our “languages.” Oh, He will speak to you. In a way that moves only you. He is your inspiration.
But what of those who can’t hear? What of the blind?
Here’s what’s so beautiful about our God. He speaks within you. He doesn’t even have need of your ears, eyes, or even hands to receive him. If your heart is beating, you can make a choice to receive His gifts. So I encourage you: seek what inspires you. Search as if listening, for the kinds of sounds, sights, aromas, or textures that open your personal pathway to rejuvenation.
I think when God “speaks”, in a language only you will recognize, you feel loved. You feel accepted. You feel able. Because He is speaking — well actually the Bible declares that He is singing — over you. Today, listen like Samuel. Knowing full well, you’ve missed God’s voice time and time again. But in this moment, just be open to receive.